Helcim, an MSP/ISO of Elavon, is a Canadian credit card processing company that's been in business since 2006 and entered the U.S. market in 2013. It offers some of the best interchange-plus pricing in our review and is one of the only credit card processors to post its complete costs and fees for retail, online and mobile credit card processing on its website.
Helcim rates well for its easy application process. The application is online, and after filling it out, you have to send in a few documents, such as a voided check and a business license or personal financial records. Acceptance and account setup usually takes between 24 to 48 hours, which is an average amount of time compared to other processors in our review.
When reviewing credit card processors, we looked for companies that don't tie you to long-term contracts. Helcim doesn't have a long-term contract; when you sign up with this company, you pay monthly and can terminate at any time without incurring an early termination fee.
After you begin processing through Helcim, it takes up to two days for funds to clear and be deposited into your account. This is average for the industry, though some processors may be able to clear accounts as quickly as next day. If the speed with which you get your money is a big concern, you may want to consider that before signing up with Helcim.
Helcim offers only the interchange-plus pricing model and has some of the lowest markup percentages and per-transaction fees in our review, with a markup of 0.18% and a per-transaction fee of $.08. It's one of the only processors that provides a rate guarantee in its application, which states that its markup percentage won't increase during the life of your account. If you process more than $50,000 per month or if your business is a nonprofit, you may be eligible for lower rates, which are also posted on its website.
In addition to posting its costs online, it also posts a list of its fees, which is a rarity among credit card processors. Ongoing fees include a $12 monthly fee, which includes PCI compliance. Helcim does not have a monthly minimum requirement, which may be helpful to your small businesses if you're new to processing and don't yet know what kind of monthly processing volume to expect or if you worry that you might not be able to process enough to meet the minimum required by other processors.
If selling goods or services online is a part of your business plan, Helcim can provide you with a virtual terminal. You can view a demo of the terminal on its website. The cost for using Helcim's virtual terminal is different from the standard monthly fee for retail processing, but it does allow for some customization if you are tech savvy. As with most processors, if you want to process both online and in-person, you have to open a separate merchant account for your online transactions, which means you pay the monthly costs of both accounts.
One area where Helcim stands out the most from the other processors we reviewed was in its transparency. In addition to posting its rates, fees and terms online, Helcim goes the extra mile by posting informational articles that go in depth about several aspects of the credit card payment industry, such as PCI compliance. The website also includes articles such as "Hidden Fees to Watch Out For" and "Top 5 Processor Tricks" that offer useful information to businesses new to processing.
The quality of a processor's customer service is an important consideration. When we reviewed processors, we looked for a company that had courteous, knowledgeable reps that would provide us with accurate, reliable information and also keep in touch with us. Helcim is excellent in this regard, answering all our questions and providing in-depth information.
One disadvantage of Helcim is that it does not provide you with a dedicated account rep. We consider this an important tool, as a dedicated rep provides a constant point of contact and can help guide the decisions you make about your credit card processing. However, the overall quality of the Helcim's customer service helps offset the lack of a dedicated rep.
Helcim is a standout credit card processor because of its low processing costs, lack of excessive fees and transparency about operation and cost. Its website offers useful information about credit card processing, and Helcim provides excellent customer service, though it does not assign dedicated account reps. Helcim is a mission-based organization that offers special rates to nonprofits.
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